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American Nations

What it Means to be American

This eclectic mix of books features different genres, perspectives, and approaches to answer the question: "What does it mean to be an American?" Some are memoirs, some are histories, some social science and poetry thrown in for good measure. While none of these books by themselves or even as a collection completely answer the complex question, they do begin to describe the multiple facets of what it means to call oneself an American.

American Eclipse cover

Chasing the Eclipse

On August 21, there will be a total solar eclipse covering the continental United States for the first time since 1979. Here are two new titles about the eclipse for your reading pleasure and making the most of your viewing experience. Copies of the books are available to check out and download from the library system.

taking flight

International Girls with Grit

Grit is defined as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck."  The true stories below portray unimaginable hardships for girls so young. Some lost their families and homes to heinous acts of violence during civil wars. Others were sold by their families to ease financial burdens or because the girls were deemed "worthless." Yet deep loss, fear, and shame didn't define them. Instead, their strength blossomed in adversity.

DC locals Cigarette play on the Woodridge rooftop on July 12, 2017

Summer of Punk Reads!

History in the Making with the DC Punk Archive

After the closure of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library for renovation earlier this year, we wondered how to continue the joy and community built around the DC Punk Archive Basement shows hosted there since October 2014 to promote the DC Punk Archive collection. Why not start with our newest DC Public Library building?

The First Chinese American

Golden Dreams Deferred

The Chinese American Experience

If you are looking for a new literary experience in Washington, D.C., drop by the DC Public Library table during this month’s "Talk Story" event hosted by the Chinese Community Church located at 500 I (Eye) Street, NW.

great grisby.png

Let us Now Praise Famous Dogs

Good Dogs in History

Pupper love is having a moment, with blogs and social media capitalizing on the abiding affection between humans and their noble companions.

Faster, Higher, Smarter

Sports History for Teens and Tweens

Batter up!

Did you know that women and girls couldn’t always play sports like men and boys could? That African-Americans weren’t allowed to play major league baseball? That sports equipment used to be a lot less safe than it is now? Check out the following books about sports history for teens and tweens - and while you’re having fun, you might learn a thing or two!

Washington Blade 1980s cover, December 29, 1989

Welcome to the '80s!

Washington Blade digitized archives 1969-1989 online

We've got the '80s covered -- The Washington Blade newspaper 1969 to 1989 is all now online! Work to digitize all of the nation's oldest still-publishing LGBT newspaper's archives by DC Public Library, Special Collections are ongoing.

Snow Storm in August

Place and Race

Stories and Histories of DC

Whether you grew up in D.C. or have only been here a few weeks, knowing and understanding the city you live in is important. These books cover parts of the history of D.C. and focus on the ways in which race has intersected with politics and the way we live here.

city of light city of poison

Sepia-toned Scandal

Infamy is Timeless

Are the news cycles causing intrigue fatigue? It may be a little (cold) comfort to know that constant tumult is not unique to our time. In fact, the outrageous and the shocking have always peppered human history. Plus, reading disreputable stories about long-dead people can be more palatable than continually processing the 24-hour news cycle. Some titles for those with an interest in the bad old days.

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